On Saturday Matt attended a Q&A at the Palm Springs International Film Festival about The Martian, here are some photos.
Tonight Matt Damon received the Chairman’s Award at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala. Matt, who was introduced by The Martian’s Director Ridley Scott, talked about his work on The Martian, and joked about when Ben Affleck won this award a few years ago and had everyone call him The Chairman, and how he’s gonna do the same. Here are some photos:
Matt gave an interview to Variety where he talks the new Bourne movie, The Martian and Star Wars.
On a break, finally, from shooting the latest installment of the “Bourne” franchise, actor Matt Damon made it to Los Angeles earlier this month to discuss his work in Ridley Scott’s “The Martian.” With a worldwide box office haul approaching $600 million and plenty of Oscar buzz heading into 2016, it could net him a nomination for a largely solitary performance. He spoke to Variety about the importance of maintaining a light and positive tone in the film, letting time go by before circling back to the Jason Bourne character and how anyone at any time is on the verge of breaking out in this business. Oh, and “Star Wars,” too. Because “Star Wars.”
So do you and Tom Hanks ever commiserate about having acted opposite, you know, nothing for long stretches?
[Laughs.] You know what, I’ve thought about this, obviously, because I’ve had this question asked of me. But the key difference is, when I first met Ridley [Scott] about this, he said he always wanted to do “Robinson Crusoe,” and he felt like this was his chance. And then as we got into it we realized the key distinction is that in “Robinson Crusoe” — or in “Cast Away,” for that matter — the journey the character is going on, it’s about whether or not anybody is ever going to know that he was alive. Whereas the character in this is surrounded by these GoPros and every minute that he’s staying alive on Mars is a minute longer than anybody has ever been there and he’s got kind of a purpose. He’s got this chance to record for his colleagues the experience that he’s having. So that feeling of being useful is kind of the exact opposite of the existential crisis that somebody who’s marooned on a desert island goes through, which is, “Oh my God, is anybody ever going to know that this happened?”
And with a story like this, often you might have some sort of “back home” context, either family or friends that contextualizes the character, that the character is eager to get back to. You didn’t really have that in the text of the script here, so what kind of background work did you do to really get where he was coming from?
When I looked at it I felt like Andy [Weir], the novelist, did that, because what he was really interested in was kind of the thought experiment of whether or not somebody could survive. In the interviews I read with him, and subsequently when I talked to him, he said, “I just came up with that premise and then let the science steer the story.” So he wasn’t concerned with writing a novel about a guy. He was more concerned about, “All right, who would a person who could survive this incredibly challenging situation be? OK, he would be a botanist. He would be an astronaut.” And he kind of worked backward from there. So I think a family or a wife at home or kids or something would’ve felt, in an odd way, kind of an extra layer of artificiality to the movie or a conceit or whatever. It’s a pretty lean, focused story. We talked about it but it just didn’t feel right. And it felt good that you don’t know what he’s trying to get back to. He could be anyone. His story could be anyone’s.
What did that do for you as an actor in trying to bring that sort of inner life out when you’re dealing with something that’s so plot-driven, particularly given that you don’t exactly have sparring partners to help with that illumination?
I think any actor carries their own emotional baggage. It’s not that you go in there and there’s a vacuum. You go in there full and kind of, depending on the role, you’re teasing different things out. But he wasn’t a total cipher. I knew that he had gone through this training. In the book they go into detail about the training and how he’s particularly suited to this kind of work. Like, these guys who we send out there, they have to be incredible cooperators and they have to have this incredible positive outlook. Like one astronaut said to me, he goes, “We’re this kind of strange thing where we have to be very smart and there’s all these Ph.D.’s and all these very brilliant minds, but we have to be stupid enough to sit on X numbers of thousand pounds of rocket fuel and get launched into outer space.”
You have to be a little crazy, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. They were doing this thing with the six astronauts who are literally pretending that they’re living on Mars and they’re sealed into this habitat together for like a year and they cannot leave unless there’s a medical emergency. Because we’re studying the effects of this type of work on the human psyche. It’s so much for a human being to endure. So [the character is] particularly well-suited to that and well-trained for this type of thing. When he comes up with this idea of these GoPros all over the habitat, those just become his de facto Wilson, basically. Although he’s recording these things and the expectation is that someday someone is going to come and retrieve these and they’re going to watch them. So even though he’s sending those missives out into nowhere, they are being recorded for posterity’s sake and he is operating under the expectation that he’s being watched, that he’s, like, in a lab. I think that’s something that buoys him, that keeps him going.
EW.com has released a deleted scene from The Martian:
Matt Damon was on The Late Show with James Corden and acted his career in 8 minutes. Watch below, plus a clip from the Interview:
Matt addresses the comments where he said gay actors should keep their lives privates and he explains what he meant.
After 12 long years of being ignored by Jimmy, Matt has decided to go to couples therapy and try to solve their problems. Watch the hilarious piece below.
[note]More photos have been added to the gallery.[/note]
Here are the first pictures from the London Premiere for The Martian, which is being streamed live on Yahoo.